Meat Free Week is actually based on excellent reasoning, for one part. We eat too much meat in this country. That’s the part I love about the meat free week messaging. The bit I’m scared of however, is the bit where a bunch of well meaning people do a meat free week, pat themselves on the back, and then head straight back to the meat they usually buy, which in the case of chicken or pork for example, is 90% factory farmed. Success for treatment of animals? I think, not.
Success for health? No. If we go straight back to eating our factory farmed animals after that week, there is much research that shows that the real health culprit when it comes to meat, is its origin and the way the animals live and are treated and fed.
You have the power to drastically diminish, if not end, factory / intensive farming. Permanently. You do. We all do. We have the potential to vote with every piece of meat we buy, every cafe we order eggs or bacon from or the chicken salad… The power lies in having this question answered on a permanent basis, rather than simply abstaining for a week:
Where does my food come from?
If you investigate, and are met with attitude, secrecy or the answer that the source is from intensive farming, then your power is in choosing NO, thank you, I’ll pass.
Now, I’m not saying at your cousin’s wedding when the ‘chicken or the fish’ is popped in front of you that you make a fuss and proclaim travesty. I’m not saying at your next dinner party at a friend’s you need to give everyone an ethics sermon when you find out the chicken is not organic… There are ways to spread the word and create the change without making enemies, and the first way is simply to start with your own shopping basket, sharing petitions, sharing your favourite new ethical butcher’s name on your FB page with your friends etc. Let people do their own exploring and at the end people WANT to change, instead of being pushed to change. The latter creates guilt and resentment and that’s not going to solve the world’s problems in a hurry.
So, if you’re a meat eater and the ethical treatment of animals is something that interests you, why not start asking yourself the question: Where does this come from? From there, you can start buying better, ordering direct from farmers or ethical butchers. There are loads of people out there to support.
If you are a bonafide convert to ethical meat already, this week, why not share your favourite ethical meat supplier’s name with your friends and spread the word that long term change is going to be what changes the world, not a week of avoiding the real problem.
My friends at Feather and Bone shared their thoughts here in a beautifully written piece. Worth a read!
If you’re worried about red meat and health from the recent ‘red meat as bad as cigarettes’ study, then here is a fantastic counter to that study and its funders.
Feather & Bone and my butcher Ethical Farmers. Please list your favourite ethical, sustainable butchers wherever you are in the world in the comments, to help others find and support a good one.
Let’s not make this just a week. Let’s make this a deep, long lasting change and put a message out to the world about what kind of farming we want our meat to come from.
Let’s eat a little less and a lot better quality – for our health and the health of the planet.
But what about the money?
Get yourself slow cooking and use cheaper cuts. I’ve got 2kg of grassfed beef brisket on today that cost me all of $27.50!!! That’ll do us for 2 family dinners – the first served with veggies, the second done with added beef stock and veggies as a luscious soup, and 6 leftovers lunches for me and the hubby for work.
Buy a whole chook instead of chook pieces, and you can instantly move from slippery free range claims, straight to organic, protecting yourself from GMO grains that many free range chooks are fed, too!
Eat a bit less meat. Pad out your stews, soups, casseroles or stir fries with double the veggies.
Would love to hear of your journey if you’ve become an ethical meat eater over the past few years, or have always been.